BOLTON residents are being urged to make sure they have their say on the future of the town’s libraries when a public consultation opens on March 1.

As part of the council’s drive to save £60 million over the next two years, a number of libraries across the borough are facing closure.

The three-month consultation starts on March 1, giving residents and library users the chance to have their say as part of a comprehensive review of the libraries.

Town Hall chiefs are planning to retain the central library in Le Mans Crescent, as a central hub and keep the libraries in the townships — Blackrod, Farnworth, Horwich, Little Lever and Westhoughton — open.

Any library closures would be the first since 1995, when a number of branches, including Brazley, Deane, Great Lever, Kearsley and New Bury, were axed.

Council leader Cllr Cliff Morris said: “None of us want to be closing libraries but we have to find savings and some of these buildings are no longer fit for purpose.”

Around £3 million has been invested in the borough’s libraries to ensure they provide a “comprehensive and efficient service”.

Council bosses say they will continue providing services, such as free access to IT equipment, free gifting of books to babies via health visitors, summer reading challenges for children and the Library Link service, which delivers books for people with mobility and long-term health problems.

Cllr Elaine Sherrington, Executive member for adult services, said: “We have done a lot of work in the libraries over the last few years and we will be enhancing those which do remain open.”

Those libraries which remain open could get longer opening hours and offer more services as a result of the review.

The move to close libraries is expected to save the authority between £400,000 and £500,000 over the next two years.

The consultation, will be online from March 1 to May 20, with hard copies also being made available from libraries and the council’s One Stop Shop at the Town Hall.

Those with health difficulties will also get help in filling out the consultation should they request it.